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Kings Gameday: Free Willie

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That's all I got

It's like a less threatening Canucks team
It's like a less threatening Canucks team
Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

I don't know anything about the Florida Panthers. They made a Cup Final way back in 1996 and got whipped by the Avalanche. They have rats or something. No one goes to their games, and I don't mean that as a slight but state such as a fact. And I have no idea who the hell is on their team. I seriously had to check, and I was surprised by each name. Did you know who was on the Panthers? Let's examine their roster, shall we?

Dave Bolland!

You remember him, right? He was a third or fourth line center with the Blackhawks, got dumped, couldn't stick with the Maple Leafs, and got paid 27.5 million dollars. He's played four games. He has zero points. This is likely the one guy you already knew was on the Panthers, and it's not because of anything good.

Brian Campbell!

Former Sabre and another Blackhawk. He was also a Shark I hear. Now he is a Panther. Dean Lombardi sort of called him out, unprovoked, a while back saying he was awful at defense (an impressive -40 rating with Florida). I actually thought he went to the KHL last season.

Jussi Jokinen!

Mr. Sunbelt has played for the Stars, Hurricanes, Lightning, and now the Panthers. He spent last year with the Penguins and was actually pretty good. He's not the Jokinen you are thinking of at the moment. That's Olli, and he plays for Nashville (another forgettable team).

Brad Boyes!

He played one game for the Sharks. Besides that, even when he was productive you likely never noticed him. In that regard, he is very much like another B.B., Buster Bluth, as neither are seen nor heard. Boyes is actually in his second season with the Panthers, which I also did not know. I thought he had retired, but apparently he is only 32.

Scottie Upshall!

If you remember the Flyers from a long while back, you may remember this guy. Those seasons were sandwiched between Upshall starting on the Predators, and being on the Coyotes. He is another entirely forgettable player. The Panthers saw this, realized he was a perfect fit, and he's been on the team since 2011.

Derek MacKenzie!

This name actually isn't familiar at all. Nevermind.

Roberto Luongo!

Luongo went from being an up and coming goalie you didn't know much about because he was on the Panthers, to a guy who was actually pretty good. He was surprisingly outgoing and funny, but was on a really douchey Vancouver team. He failed to get Canada a Stanley Cup, and beat the U.S. for a gold medal in the Olympics in 2010. Naturally, everyone came to hate him. He got traded to a team no one cared about and instantly became likable.

Sean Bergenheim!

A fringe top six player at best, Bergenheim never topped 30 points in his career. He averaged a .56 goals a game in the playoffs (a sample size of sixteen games) for Tampa Bay in 2010-2011. Moving from one irrelevant team to another, I still fucking hate this guy for whatever reason.

Tomas Kopecky!

He won a Cup with Detroit, and then won a Cup with Chicago. He has not won anything with Florida besides a lot of money (twelve million!) despite being a bargain-bin guy for years prior. He's also an Olympian, because Slovakia's depth is pretty lousy.

Willie Mitchell!

Ol' Steamboat Willie was finally made a winner during his time in Los Angeles. The Panthers gave Mitchell way more money after his day with the Cup, which in theory is a really, really bad idea. But we all love Willie Mitchell. He is somehow the captain of the Panthers. Good for him. Please come home, Willie. Slava's done something terrible. Alec is hurt. We need you. Help us Willie-Wan Kenobi, you're our only hope. Seriously, a Regehr/McBain second pairing may make me kill myself.

preview 11/18

The Kings defense will again be the slowest it has been since the days of Jaroslav Modry. Fortunately, Alec Martinez seems like he won't be missing too much time, and, for better or for worse, the Slava Voynov situation is approaching the court date. Whether that means he is off the books, back playing, traded, or who knows what, for the Kings (from a purely hockey playing standpoint) it makes life easier. Of course, the court date could probably just get pushed back so the whole thing goes on a little longer, while the NHL continues to shrug and not have any idea on how to handle things after they looked like idiot assholes last year with Varlamov. Anyways...

Darryl Sutter decided to put Trevor Lewis with Marian Gaborik and Anze Kopitar. Clearly, Justin Williams and Jeff Carter were holding that line back. Carter is now centering Dwight King returning from exile, and Tyler Toffoli. Williams is with Jarret Stoll and Tanner Pearson. Mike Richards, who has been a pleasant surprise so far, is centering Dustin Brown and Kyle Clifford. I guess that is the fourth line? It definitely gives the Kings four lines to roll, which is good since they will need to be picking up for the defense. I'd prefer if they broke up Muzzin and Doughty, just so that there is more than one pair that isn't god awful, but I don't know where to begin with that. McBain and Regehr is a possession blackhole, and McNabb with Greene make the worse reads I've seen since high school. McNabb and Doughty is decent enough, and Muzzin with McBain would be interesting. Then you have Regehr and Greene, which is so slow that the earth would stop rotating. Please hurry back, Alec.

Prediction: Panthers score a lot and the Kings score some. Lose, I guess.